Sunday, May 19, 2013
A few clouds
DREAM LOTTERY LL5578 LL5636
This week’s column is about planned obsolescence.
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I wish I could cite the reference, but there’s a story about one of the major car companies, with the executives sitting down and deciding how often their customers have to buy a car to keep the company profitable. Thus, cars were designed to start causing problems around this time.
Sure it can be fixed, but who needs that hastle? Something else will break anyway. And the new model just came out with the fancy new thingamajig…
I knew what my comments were going to be right up until your last couple of lines and you took the wind out of my sails. People have indeed become disposable and replaceable…employees, employers, husbands, wives, even your children (yours, not mine: -) I must have read the same article as Charlotte about the car companies. It was very informative…and maddening! Just a little FYI – Hubby and I just replaced our freezer. We bought it used off of my parents back in 1976 when we bought our first house. Got looking it over on the way to the dump, and it was manufactured in1952! Don’t make ‘em like they used to is right!!!!
Great column. I have never read Brave New World, but based on your description, I would agree that we are there. I think the other difference between your dad’s radio and modern tech is the rate of change. Your dad’s radio worked because the basic concept of AM/FM radio was constant over those 30 years. I bought a sterio when I started work. It was my first “big” purchase. It had a Sony 2 x cassette deck and a brand new gadget called a CD player , slong with a turntable. As we know, cassettes are antiques, CDs are far less common, etc. Same for TVs with Hi-Def channels, etc. What happens is you basically have to decide at what point the “new thingy” (thanks Charlotte ) moves from being a nice to have to being essential.
The other offshott of this disposable socieity is the amount of garbage of course and that will be the interesting long term dilema.
@pinkypie…re: 1952 freezer….I’m not an expert but I wonder if there are experts out there who can calculate the money and energy you wasted all these years by not having a modern, efficient, better insulated appliance.
Similarly, a 1952 car may be in pristine condition, but it is a polluting, gas-guzzling unsafe death machine. Sure it might look good, but modern technology since then has advanced from engines, to headlights, to air bags, to padded dashboards and steeing wheels, ABS brake systems,.to lighter more efficient motors, and overall materials with less drag and crash survivability…Yup, “they don’t make them like the used to.”
a says: I thought I would see a difference, but my hydro bill has done nothing but go up. The new freezers are most certainly not better insulated. We keep our freezer in our garage as we just can’t physically fit it into our home…no room on the main floor and it won’t fit down the basement. The old freezer rarely ran and this new one rarely shuts off, so I guess that’s why there is no energy savings. Perhaps (and perhaps not) the new one is better for the environment, but most certainly doesn’t work as well.
@pinkypie…I’m surprised at your comment about insulation. I’m not really sure about that. Have you had some experience that lends some insight on this. At the junk yard (recycle centre) I recall seeing styrofoam in newer freezer doors, and I believe fiberglass was used in the older ones. I think the former has a higher “R-factor” (I think that’s what its called,) and therfore more insullation. But again, I’m not an expert.
@Charlotte….I guess the calculation that the executives of the car companies sitting around (conspiratorily) to decide how long to make their cars last in order to be profitable must have missed the mark big time when all of the big 3 have lost market share in the last 25 years and oh, by the way the two (GM and Chrysler) declared bankruptcy (note that Chrysler did twice.) I guess maybe they were using an analog calculator not a digital computer model to make their dastardly calculations and failed so badly to control the consumer, and consumers’ tastes and preferences..
No I don’t think there is such a thing as “planned obsolence” it only just seems “planned.”
Manufactures want to sell what consumers want. Consumers want fast, cheap, new, trendy, We all want the next BIG HOT THING. That THING will incorporate new technology, materials, and attitude…and that is why it is NEW and we WANT it.NOW!
@pinkypie…I might strongly suggest you have a qualified appliance person look at your old freezer…you may be leaking very nasty refrigerant. Bad for human health and bad for environment (ozone-depletion.) Old CFC refrigerant used in those old freezers is nasty stuff. When it comes to tossing it out…DO NOT. Releasing this gas is dangerous and prohibited by international law. The Montreal Protocols.
Just have them carefully transfer the gas into a proper qualified container…legitimate service people and conscientious recyclers know what to do…or look up on the internet for suggestions.
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